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Terrarium-Making for your Condo

) Red Rivera |

Plants have this green magic about them that just breathes life into any room. Of course we’d want plants decorating our home, purifying our air, and really, just giving us that inner peace they’re bound to give. 

Sounds ideal, but let’s face it, when you’re living in a condo with limited space, it’s not always easy to have that secret garden fantasy you’ve been dreaming of. However, does this mean you have to forget about it? No! Urban dwellers can create their own small gardens with the terrarium.

The terrarium came from Dr. Nathaniel Bagshaw Ward’s Wardian Case, the predecessor of the modern terrarium. Terrariums or terraria are similar to aquariums sustaining an ecosystem. The difference is that the glass container that houses a miniature garden requires little to no maintenance. The low maintenance care of terrariums have made it very popular as household garden displays, and especially for those that live in small spaces.

Terrariums are self-sustainable in that it mimics nature’s natural rain cycle. The plants draw moisture from the soil and evaporate it through their leaves (the process of transpiration). The water droplets then drip down from the sides of the container, thus returning to the soil. 

Readily made can be bought online, just check out #terrariumph on Instagram to find sellers! If you’d rather create your own terrarium, that can easily be arranged! Here’s a guideline to help with your terrarium-creating journey.

Materials Needed: 

  • Glass Vessel:  The glass vessel you end up using depends on what kind of terrarium you want to create. On one hand, closed terrariums are great for plants that need humid and sheltered environments, these plants include moss, ferns, orchids, and so on. On the other hand, open terrariums are for plants that need dry and temperate environments such as succulents, cacti, and air plants.

  • Small Stones or Pebbles: These small stones will act as the base of your terrarium. The pebbles are used as water drainage for the plants’ roots to make sure water doesn’t stay in the soil and cause rot.

  • Activated Charcoal: You’ll only need a little bit of this. It will be used to keep water fresh and to fight off bacterial growth inside your terrarium.

  • Potting Soil: The potting soil is an important part of your DIY terrarium. Any type of soil should do, but special mixes are available if you opt to plant cacti or succulents. 

  • Small Gardening Tools: These tools will ultimately help you create your miniature garden. Gardening tools can include your scooper for your soil and pebbles, a stirrer to correctly position your plants and accessories, and so on

  • Plants: This is, of course, a vital part of your terrarium. Pick out your favorite small-sized plants to use in your terrarium. Make sure to pick plants according to what kind of terrarium you want to make, a closed or open terrarium.


Step by Step Guideline:

Step 1: Lay your pebbles down at the bottom of your glass vessel. A 1 ½ inch-thick layer will do. This layer will act as your terrarium’s drainage system.

Step 2:  Add a thin layer of activated charcoal. This will keep water fresh and fight off any bacterial growth in your terrarium.

Step 3: Add a layer of potting soil. Make sure to add enough so that it’s deep enough for your plants to root into. A 2-inch to 2 ½ inch layer will do the trick. 

Step 4: Add your plants into the terrarium. Start by adding the largest plants first and work your way down to the smallest plants. Make sure to prune the roots, much like when you’re repotting a plant. You have complete freedom in how you want to design you terrarium.

  1. Tip: Make sure to wear gloves when handling cacti or any other prickly plants.
  2. Tip: Use your stirrer to help position the plants and smoothen the soil.

Step 5: Once your plants are nicely positioned, you can go ahead and add a layer of pebbles for extra aesthetic. 

And you’re all done!

Since you’ve finished with your terrarium, you need to make sure it’s properly taken care of. Display your creation in a brightly lit room and make sure your terrarium is exposed to enough indirect sunlight and lightly watered every two weeks



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